My neighbor April and I were talking last Wednesday night when she asked me if I wanted to go to a party that her daughter Joanne was having (a direct marketing party, like selling Tupperware – except this was jewelry).
Normally under a situation like this I would run for the hills, or at the very least, come up with an excuse and say ‘thanks for thinking of me, but…..’ Parties like these always make me feel like I have to make a purchase and I have more than enough jewelry already. Plus, mathematically speaking, it was clear to me that I would not know 80% of the people there; those two things alone were enough to increase my anxiety level 7 or 8 notches. But, remembering my decision to say yes to new things, I quickly said, ‘Thanks for thinking of me; I’d love to.’ Oh, boy. What did I just agree to?!
My plan was this: I decided that I was going to allow myself to worry about this as much as I wanted – but only two hours before the party. Every time that ball of anxiety started forming in my stomach, I reminded myself that I could think about it – even obsess about it…but not until 4:30 PM on Friday. It was hard to keep redirecting my thoughts, but eventually my mind agreed to save up the big ball of stress until Friday evening.
Friday: 4:30 PM
As I curled my hair and put on my makeup (hey, I needed to pull out the ‘big guns’ for this challenge….I wasn’t going to the grocery store, after all) I let my mind go wild with thoughts of standing all alone by the taco dip or worse yet, following my neighbor around all evening like a lost puppy. I paced the floor for a while, stared at Brulee and then decided to test the theory that if you pet a dog, your blood pressure will go down. I think I came close to rubbing off all his fur.
Friday night: 6:25 PM
My husband sees me watching for April at the front door. He gives me a pep talk. Says I’ll do fine.
“Don’t forget to smile,” he says. Check.
“And whatever you do,” he adds, “don’t stand like that.”
I look down and see my arms firmly crossed across my chest.
“That makes you look like you’re on the defensive.” Double Check.
Friday night: 7:00 – 9:45 PM
I walked in and was pleasantly surprised to find that everyone was waiting for me. They all clapped as I took off my coat and complimented me on my hair and my fabulous sense of style. Three people fought over who got to fetch me a drink and I spent the rest of the night throwing my head back in laughter as everyone around me lined up to talk to me, even for a brief moment.
Friday night: 7:00 – 9:45 PM (OK, OK…..what really happened)
I smiled; I complimented Joanne on her lovely home; I grabbed a bottled water from the kitchen, and I made sure that every person there knew my name. They didn’t have to remember it; nor would I be hurt if I wasn’t spoken to past the initial, ‘nice to meet you.’ That wasn’t the point. The point was, I was not invisible and I was reaffirming that thought every time I said, ‘Hi! I’m Ellen.’
I will admit, it wasn’t an easy crowd. Everyone there knew each other because they all lived in the neighborhood. Their kids all played together, so you can imagine all the things they had in common to talk about – things that I couldn’t relate to. But that was really OK. It didn’t matter, because I did succeed in talking to two of these women past our standard introduction. They didn’t leave after a minute of small talk. They stayed because they wanted to.
I smiled, felt confident. I gave compliments on hair and clothes; I asked how they knew Joanne. And I did one more thing that worked like magic: I asked them about themselves. People love talking about themselves. You just have to remember not to ask too many questions – you don’t want to appear like you’re interviewing for a job as a stalker! lol
When it was time to go, I made sure that I didn’t forget the receipt for the pair of earrings I’d just bought (you really didn’t think I’d get out of there without making a purchase, did you?), let everyone know how nice it was to meet each of them – and we left.
It wasn’t until I got home that I felt really and truly proud of myself. The party itself wasn’t bad compared to the anticipation of it. I think if I can get over that part, I may just have this whole thing figured out!
You’ve just read a Memory Lane Post, which is a repeat of one of my favorite posts. This particular post holds special meaning to me because even though I didn’t know it then, attending that party encouraged me to say yes to several other social situations I normally would have avoided. It was a definite turning point for me; I’ve come a long way since that post, and it’s nice to have a written memory of that.
GIVEAWAY: Speaking of Memory Lane Posts, you know what that means: it’s time for another giveaway! Today, I’ll be sending off another item that I’ve personally chosen for my readers; one of my favorite things:
If you use Burt’s Bees then you already know how nice this kit will be. If you haven’t, here’s an opportunity to have the chance to pamper yourself, and what better way than with the Essential Burt’s Bees Kit, which includes: Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream, Hand Salve, Milk and Honey Body Lotion, Beeswax Lip Balm and Coconut Foot Cream.
Again, entering is easy. Just comment on this post and you’re automatically entered into the drawing. You have until 9 PM EST on Sunday night to enter. I’ll use Random.org to pick my winner and maybe YOUR name will be announced during Monday’s post! I welcome and look forward to comments from everyone, but per contest rules, please remember that only US readers can be included in this drawing.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend, everyone.